Steeping in Presence


photo 1by Laura Madsen 2014

Taking the time to steep ourselves in Divine Presence has always been an essential ingredient to realizing our authentic Spiritual Nature. In Bhakti (devotional) paths, the Sanskrit word “Rasa,” describes the emergence of God’s flavour, or juice, that can be found within the steeping. When we commit ourselves to exploring the still depth of Divine Yearning, we are following the ancient art of steeping in Presence. Historically, Presence has been given many names. Much more important than the name, is our willingness to steep again and again in It.

The dictionary defines the action of steeping as “extracting flavour” and “softening.” Steeping in Presence is like steeping tea.  In order to extract its flavour, we need to experience the heat (of Divine relationship) and give ourselves time to steep. Through our willingness, we soften into fresh ways of discovering Authentic Relationship to Life. The longer and more frequently we steep, the less relevant life’s abstractions become.

Without the recognition and experience of our inner Beauty, Truth, and Goodness, conscious or unconscious (fear-based) conditioning becomes our only recourse in relationship. And as Einstein so wisely said, we cannot solve a problem from the same thinking that created it. If we continue to respond to life from habits of the already-known, nothing substantial changes. Without steeping ourselves in the Presence of the not-already-known, we fail to “soften” into the recognition of the web of Unfathomable Inter-Connectivity that our life is an expression of.

In the Hindu tradition, it is Shakti who embodies Creation’s form, through the Divine Feminine. Shiva holds the formless nature of God, and delights in seeing the ever-evolving expressions of Life, through Shakti. In the direct experience of her Abundance, we enter a spiritual portal. We are now in the realm of the Mystic, having landed on the “inside” of an intimate encounter with Divine energy or Rasa.

220px-Manasa_DeviParvati as one of 50+ representations of Shakti

Twentieth century English Mystic, Evelyn Underhill stated: “In mysticism that love of truth which we saw as the beginning of all philosophy leaves the merely intellectual sphere, and takes on the assured aspect of a personal passion. Where the philosopher guesses and argues, the mystic lives and looks; and speaks, consequently, the disconcerting language of first-hand experience.”

When we have not experienced Presence, the authority and directness of someone speaking from Presence can be difficult to take. Jesus and Paul are both examples in the Christian tradition. Their speech appeared arrogant and assuming to many. When in fact — to this day — it remains truthful, straightforward, and liberating for those willing to hear.

The style of communication, and how we understand others, changes as we “steep together.”  It is vital to find “sangha,” or groups of people willing “to steep” in something beyond the (known) of egoic paradigms and socialized communication. Typically, relationships willing to steep in the vulnerability of  the “not-yet-known,” discover new flavours of Presence together. Mystic and theologian, Martin Buber wrote: “When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.” This is the essential expression of Silence Practice for the twenty-first century.

The unselfconscious depth of “steeped relationships,” have their hallmark in attributes of profound Trust and Good-Will. Unburdened by cultural and personal expectations — that usually reinforce the predictability of the known — these relationships experience freedom from hardened habits of fear and judgement. As the separative lens of perception softens, a dynamic abundance emerges in the space between us. Shakti comes alive in the essential creativity of Divine Relationship. An unmistakable flavour of freedom and joy abounds, as we learn to steep ourselves in a Presence much bigger than anything we’ve known. For me, this is nothing less than a living  expression of heaven on earth, and the embodied expression of our Faith in God.

Please do not “think twice” about commenting below!

Namaste, Laura

 

8 thoughts on “Steeping in Presence

    1. Thank you Patricia. I so appreciate the work that you do in the Evolutionary Collective (evolutionarycollective.com). Providing a “playing field” where we can practice communication from depth and trust (transparency & vulnerability) is like coming home to ourselves and each other. We discover simplicity, joy, and liberation in relationship
      . Namaste.

  1. Beautiful blog – thank you! I find such peace & joy when I am with people I can be authentic with, and who offer me the same trust.
    “Where the philosopher guesses and argues, the mystic lives and looks…” – thanks for sharing this quote.

    1. Thank you Sita,
      Simply put, there is no connection without authenticity. And authenticity does not mean expressing genuine “opinions” as many people are in the habit of doing. Many of our average conversations, including — and especially –spiritual ones, are opinion oriented. Taking the time to learn what authentic communication is and how we participate in it, is a most fulfilling goal and practice! From a Silence Practice perspective, it is when I discover stillness within me that I am available for authentic relationship. Namaste.

  2. I love this image of steeping in the divine and it reminds me that it takes time and patience to brew a good cup of tea as well as to allow ourselves to absorb the qualities of the divine. The longer I pursue the spiritual path the less important beliefs and theology are to me and the more important a connection to God and other spiritual beings has become. Developing beliefs might be a necessary step but perhaps a beginning stage of spiritual development and not its maturity.

    1. Yes dear cousin Elaine.
      I agree. You have said this so well; that what is important is our direct connection with God (the one we know & personally experience), and with other spiritual beings. Both require practice, as we have grown up in a spiritual desert.

      My sense is that religious institutions have been the shell or husk that has carried us this far. As such, they have provided an “outer lining” or belief system. Entering into divine experience/Rasa, requires time and patience. Aboriginals and the Mystics are much better at this with their soulful connection to the Whole through “the-God-of-their-understanding.” Many of us in the West experience the severe limitations of our God ideas and beliefs. Rising rates of depression and addictions is a direct consequence of our spiritual impoverishment.

  3. How true, Laura…. and so eloquently written by someone who ‘knows’!

    My recent experience of such steeping comes from the 40-day abundance meditation from John Randolph Price’s “The Abundance Book.” I started the mediation over two months ago, going beyond the 40-day mark, and what I am discovering is an awakening to the Inner Presence that is happening in layers. This experience is helping me to realize the importance of sustained and deliberate concentration and meditation in this process of awakening “The Mind of Light” (Sri Aurobindo).

    Thank you, Laura! Not only is your article an enlightening reminder for how essential the return of the Divine Feminine is to the evolution in consciousness, but it also suggests a method for reaching the Supreme Goal in Life!

    Namaste:)

    1. Thank you for sharing this Colin. It is so important that we realize for ourselves the “importance of sustained and deliberate concentration and meditation in this process of awakening ‘The Mind of Light'” (Sri Aurobindo).

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